Broadbent Institute

Posts & Activities by Broadbent Institute

  • Rick Smith



    Rick Smith is a Canadian author, environmentalist and non-profit leader.  Since 2013 he has been the Executive Director of the Broadbent Institute.  Under his leadership the Institute has grown into Canada’s pre-eminent progressive policy and training organization with offices in Montréal, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver.  

    From 2003 to 2012, Rick served as Executive Director of Environmental Defence Canada. He is the co-author of two bestselling books on the health effects of pollution: Slow Death by Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects Our Health (2009) and Toxin Toxout (2014). A Quill & Quire “Book of the Year”, Slow Death by Rubber Duck has been featured by the Washington Post (which said it “is hard-hitting in a way that turns your stomach and yet also instills hope”), Dr. Oz, Fox News, and Oprah Magazine, and translated into six languages.

    Rick has led many successful campaigns for important new public policies at the federal and provincial levels related to environmental and consumer protection, urban planning, green jobs creation, democratic reform and progressive taxation. He is a co-founder of Blue Green Canada (an environmental/trade union movement collaboration) and the Socially and Environmentally Responsible Aggregate initiative, the first attempt in the world to create a green standard for the vertically integrated aggregate and cement industry. 

    Originally from Montréal, he holds a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Guelph. He has been a Director of Équiterre, a founding Director of the Greenbelt Foundation, and is a former member of the Panel of Environment and Sustainable Development Advisors for the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development of Canada.  Rick is a regular commentator on progressive politics for Canadian media and an adviser to Loblaw Companies Limited, the largest food and pharmacy manufacturer and retailer in the country.

    When not working in an airport terminal somewhere, Rick lives in east end Toronto with his wife Jennifer Story — a public school board Trustee — and their two young boys.

  • Andrew Jackson


    Andrew Jackson is the Broadbent Institute's Senior Policy Advisor.

    In September, 2012 he retired from a long career as Chief Economist and Director of Social and Economic Policy with the Canadian Labour Congress.

    In 2011, he was awarded the Sefton Prize by the University of Toronto for his lifetime contributions to industrial relations. Educated at the University of British Columbia and the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he earned a B. Sc. and an M.Sc. in Economics, Andrew is the author of numerous articles and five books, including Work and Labour in Canada: Critical Issues, which is now in its second edition with Canadian Scholars Press.

  • Joshua Bizjak


    613-688-2071 Ext.3

    Josh offers years of business and political experience to the Broadbent Institute. Previously bringing his entrepreneurial experience to the head office of Ontario’s New Democrats as their Fundraising Manager and the Head of Labour and Corporate Relations, Josh’s direction each year helped to eclipse previous revenue milestones and set new financial benchmarks. 

    Josh has managed fundraising programs for campaigns at every level of politics and seen his candidates elected and debt free. Josh prides himself on his outreach a wide array of stakeholders to assist in the advancement of a progressive agenda.  Outside of politics Josh is well-regarded fundraising consultant in the NGO sector specializing in capacity building and revenue diversification.

  • Alejandra Bravo


    Alejandra Bravo is the Director of Leadership and Training at the Broadbent Institute, where she builds backbone for progressive organizing in Canada. She is also the Director of the Power Lab, a new leadership learning initiative focused on local organizing for a fair economy. Active in the community benefits movement, she supports leaders working to build campaigns and coalitions organizing for economic opportunities for historically disadvantaged and equity-seeking groups. Alejandra contributes to movement building as a facilitator, trainer, mentor and strategist with various social change efforts. Previously she was Manager of Leadership and Learning at Maytree, where she designed and delivered political and civic training for emerging and diverse leaders. Alejandra has a 25-year history of working for progressive social change with grassroots, immigrant, and labour groups. She has worked as a community organizer, political staff and has been a City Council candidate in Toronto.

  • Luke LeBrun

    Prior to joining PressProgress in 2013, Luke cut his teeth doing digital communications in the NGO world.

    He's received an MA and BA with a focus on media and cultural studies.

  • Jeremy Bird: organizing to win in your community

    On December 7 2013, Jeremy Bird, Barack Obama's National Field Director during the 2012 presidential election, gave a keynote speech on the fundamentals of community-based organizing to the Broadbent Institute's Municipal Political Action Conference

    Jeremy helped to build a people-powered election campaign based on strong volunteer organizing that propelled Barack Obama back to the White House.

    About the Instructor/Host

    Jeremy Bird is a founding partner at 270 Strategies and a longtime grassroots organizer with broad experience across domestic and international politics, labor, and policy. He helped launch 270 Strategies after serving most recently as the National Field Director for the 2012 re-election campaign of President Barack Obama, where he had primary responsibility for building a nationwide army of staff and volunteer organizers. Dubbed the campaign’s "Field General" by Rolling Stone magazine, Jeremy was listed among "The Obama Campaign’s Real Heroes" and has been cited as "a former Harvard divinity student who took to political organizing as though it were his higher calling." He is credited with helping establish a ground game and turnout machine that in 2012 "reproduced – through brute force, dedication and will – a turnout in the swing states that in some cases bested the campaign's remarkable performance of four years ago."

    June 01, 2030 at 12pm

  • Mitch Stewart on getting into politics

    Session Overview

    Saskatoon Change Makers, organized by Upstream and the Broadbent Institute, was an an evening of discussion and inspiration that considered the best ways to bring about positive change in the city of Saskatoon!

    Mitch Stewart, principal at 270 Strategies, and President Obama's former Battleground States Director spoke to the crowd about how he got involved in politics.

    Watch the video:

    January 31, 2030 at 8pm
    2 rsvps rsvp

  • Brian Topp


    Brian Topp recently completed a two-year stint as chief-of-staff to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. During this period the Government of Alberta introduced a $15 minimum wage; appointed a gender-balanced Cabinet; replaced a system of regressive flat taxes with a progressive income tax system; laid out a responsible fiscal plan that rejected austerity; implemented an ambitious jobs plan; reformed the royalty system; ended predatory lending practices while strengthening the credit union system and ATB, Alberta's publicly-owned bank; and implemented a climate change leadership plan -- among many other important reforms. He is proud of all of this. He previously served as deputy chief-of-staff to Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow (not a bad list of accomplishments there, too). He has worked as a public affairs consultant and in the labour movement, and in a number of senior roles with the New Democratic Party of Canada under four leaders (Broadbent, McLaughlin, McDonough, and Layton). He is a graduate of McGill University, and was born and raised in Montreal.

  • Canadian Electoral Reform - Public Opinion on Possible Alternatives


    The landmark survey commissioned by the Broadbent Institute is the first study of its kind and size to measure Canadians’ attitudes about voting system design and preference for electoral reform. The research, conducted by Abacus Data, found Canadians want the new government to keep its promise to change the voting system by an almost two to one margin and a larger margin prefers a proportional system to ranked ballots. Voting with a preferential ballot would have produced an even larger false majority in the 2015 Canadian General Election, the study also found.


    Download Canadian Electoral Reform - Public Opinion on Possible Alternatives

    Icon made by Freepik from is licensed under CC BY 3.0

  • Val Napoleon: On Indigenous law and the public imagination


    On September 22 and 23, the Broadbent Institute hosted Progress Summit BC to chart a progressive path forward for the province in this critical election year. The first keynote was delivered by Law Foundation Professor of Aboriginal Justice and Governance at the University of Victoria, Val Napoleon. Watch her remarks and presentation below.

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  • Canadians want the new government to keep its promise to change voting system by almost two to one margin



    OTTAWA — Most Canadians think the way members of Parliament are elected needs to change and a system of proportional representation is the most preferred alternative, a landmark Canadian survey has found.

    The large national survey of 2,986 Canadians conducted November 3 to 6 by Abacus Data for the Broadbent Institute is the first study of its kind and size to measure Canadians’ attitudes about voting system design and preference for electoral reform. The large sample allowed for robust estimates across regional, demographic and political subgroups. The Abacus study also asked those who voted in the 2015 Canadian General Election to rank a ballot that included the main political parties and generated data for 11 regions to estimate, with increased precision, the outcome of the Canadian election had it been run under different electoral systems.

    Read more